I got to mom shortly after breakfast. After fixing her hair, we strolled through the hallways. This sign was posted in one of the activity rooms. ‘Perfect’, I thought. Exercise from a chair!
Mom and I walked in and mom chose a seat. I pulled a chair up next to her. She was happy. While waiting for the class to begin, mom told me that her words were coming back. She was right. This morning she had been relatively coherent. It made me happy seeing her happiness.
Mom did well raising her legs simultaneously. She struggled alternating her arms. I had to place one arm on her knee while raising the other arm. Eventually she understood and could do it. After 15 minutes, I noticed that mom was beginning to ‘zone’ out and loose her enthusiasm. I asked her if she wanted to Face Time Ali. That perked her up. We walked outside and sat. I FT her husband. It took her about 2 minutes to understand that she was seeing him on the phone, but when she realized who she was talking to, her face lit up! She told him that she loved him!
When the conversation ended, I took her back inside. It was time to play Bingo. She loves this game. She was given her card and began reading it. She was very proud of herself! (I am trying to figure out how to upload videos to WP via You Tube so I can share with you.) To say I was proud of her was an understatement!
Mom was giving her chips to mark her card. Before she even touched them, she told the lady sitting with us that she could take her favorite colors. (The lady was not interested. She was ‘lost’ in the oldies music playing on the speakers.) Mom’s compassion towards her friends was evident! It is hard for me to witness when the friends don’t respond to her kindness! I understand that this disease does not always allow positive responses. I have witnessed mom and her negative responses towards kind gestures. Understanding that this is normal behavior, does not eradicate the hurt. We want kindness to be reciprocated by kindness.
The last two days when I have gone to visit mom, a staff member reports about the anger mom is beginning to exhibit. Instead of playing the role of a mom getting a bad report on a child, I am the daughter receiving this news on my mom! I was mortified! Mom had began attacking staff by scratching, pushing and cussing (yep, mom’s vocabulary may struggle unless she is mad. At that point her vocabulary makes us all blush)! My eyes welled up as Mrs. H explained that mom’s behavior is expected. She is showing her fear and frustrations the only way she knows how. Mom’s move to America, being placed in a facility and telling her husband good-bye (he flew back home for work but will continue to fly back here to see mom) has been traumatic! She is suffering from her own version of PTSD. (I understand this type of PTSD and negative behavior as a teacher. My school children lived in poverty and experienced hunger and violence. Their aggression was directed at me because they knew I would continue loving and protecting them. The children were not mad at me, they were frustrated and scared!) The insight of the staff in understanding mom has given me peace!
After waking mom up, I told her she needed to get dressed so Richard and Hampton could visit her. (The nurse had warned me I should enter the room without the guys in case she was naked again, I am glad I heeded her advise!) I pulled out some PJs so we would not have an argument over clothes. She can still button, but it is a very slow process!
When I stepped out in the hall to tell the guys it was safe to enter mom’s room, this is what I witnessed! Richard was helping one of my favorite ladies zip her jacket. Alzheimer’s robs people of so much, but they still deserve and want kindness and love! Richard shares both of these attributes freely! (Colossians3:12)
I am thankful to finally see mom smile! She was happy to see Richard and Hampton. She wanted us to take her on a walk. I could tell mom was beginning to think clearly because she would not walk in her pjs. She had to have clothes on! (Thank goodness she wanted them on instead of off!) Back into her room we went. After 20 minutes of debating and picking every single piece of lent off from her pants, she was dressed and ready to walk except her shoes were not on! This is another struggle and OCD issue. She can’t stand to have anything on the bottom of her feet! Watching her brush imaginary debris from her feet, putting her shoes on only to take them off again is a test in patience! (Ephesians4:12)
While walking, a nurse asked if we could try to get her to eat her dinner. Mom was too grumpy to eat earlier. Keeping weight on her is important. We took her into a little room and encouraged her to eat. Luckily she did not need much of that. She was starving! As she completed her meal, Ms. M brought her a coffee (brown, mom’s favorite) and a cup of ButterFingers (Ali left her favorite candy and the nurses make sure she gets some everyday). It made for a happy ending and a peaceful good-bye.